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Xbox 360 Update Adding USB Flash Drive Support In April
Xbox 360 Update Adding USB Flash Drive Support In April
March 26, 2010 | By Kris Graft

March 26, 2010 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb said Friday on his blog that an April Xbox 360 system update will add support for USB flash drives, which will be able to store profiles, saves, demos and other data for Xbox 360.

The new functionality will give users more control over the way that they store Xbox 360 data, and it also introduces more storage options for consumers who bought hard drive-less Xbox 360 models. The system update is scheduled to arrive on April 6.

After the update, users will be able to plug in any USB flash drive that's over 1GB into the console and configure up to 16GB of memory.

While the update will only support 16GB of storage space, remaining storage on the flash drive will still be manageable on the user's PC or Mac. The update will also support two connected storage devices at a time for a total of 32GB of configurable memory, manageable through new menu options on the Xbox 360 dashboard.

Hryb added that "USB hard drives may work," but recommended using flash drives over spinning media for better performance. Microsoft is also working with SanDisk to release an Xbox 360 brand flash drive in May, Hyrb said.

[UPDATE: Consumer blog Joystiq spoke to Hryb about the move and reports that he says the retail channel is "being drained" of Xbox 360 120 GB hard drives and flash Memory Units. These accessories are being phased out in favor of the USB solution announced today.]

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Owen McNamara
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That's nice. How about Microsoft allows the XBox 360 to support the NTFS file format? Since, you know, they not only pioneered it but force it as a standard for just about everything *but* the 360. I'd be much happier playing music and watching movies off of my external hard drive than merely storing profile information on a thumbstick that could be used for better things.

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@Christian---It certainly opens the door for that. I believe it could happen, if done correctly. Didn't know you play Unreal, Christan. Have a Gamertag? :)

Yosa Addiss
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I agree with Owen. I think this is a good start and will hopefully be the first of several expansions. Xbox 360 as a gaming computer? Yes, thank you. I wonder about the option of being able to bring your profile with you to a friends console, and bring your downloadable content with you. (music tracks come to mind) As a user that would be great, but I can think of many a concern it would bring along with it. For now, being able to store game demos on USB memory- yes thanks!

Travis Bradshaw
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This process doesn't open the door for anything new. This support is just allowing memory card style access to USB devices. It doesn't enable anything that existing hard drives and memory cards do not.

(The mention of computers being able to manage the rest of the device just means that the xbox 360 partition can coexist with other partitions. The computer accessible partitions won't be available in any special way to the xbox system, other than perhaps playing mp3s off of it.)

Christian Nutt
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@Christian, I seriously doubt it. That has more to do with Microsoft's standards and practices about content than it does about storage space or accessibility to an external device (i.e. a PC.) It was always technically possible. Xbox Live is a closed system.

Mark Rein talked to us about this about two and a half years ago:

I seriously doubt MS is going to reverse and allow that sort of content now that there's a flash drive. It was always possible to do it before, but MS doesn't allow data in or out of XBL.

Eric Carr
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I wonder what this will mean for XBL Indie games. Right now you can't even deploy to the 360 without a Creator's Club license that will allow you to network your XBOX to your PC.

Will this allow me to compile a program and run it right from the drive? Or am I missing something, and does this open the door to all kinds of homebrew goodness?

Amir Sharar
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Reading through the lines of comments made by Turn 10 (developer of MS published title "Forza Motorsport 3"), there was a push from the developer to MS to allow for files to be stored on a USB drive on the 360. FM 3 allows one to export videos and pictures to the game's official website, but suffers from high compression as a result (in order to reduce bandwidth costs). It would make sense to put this media onto a USB drive (much like how Gran Turismo 4 did it on the PS2) in it's original high quality forms so that the user can find their own hosting service.

The Limited Edition of FM 3 also included a 2GB USB drive, further implying that there was a plan to allow for this.

With this possibility in mind, it could be possible that the 360 partition on a USB drive could be viewable via a PC.

Adam Halloran
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Will this mean we will be able to take music OFF our Xbox HD and transfer them over to a Flashdrive?

Joel Bennett
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Eric Carr: Unlikely. I'm guessing it'll still take a Creator's Club membership and to have it on the local network segment. Besides, without doing such a thing, how else can you set breakpoints and have them halt on the PC?